Intercessory Prayer

I'm sure you've noticed that everyday the newspaper and local newscasts are featuring stories that shed light on the practical needs in our area. These stories are often heartrending, and rightfully so. I read this morning about a local group that tries to provide a safe place for homeless teens in our area. They currently cannot provide a place for the kids to stay over night, so these kids are vulnerable to not only being victimized by a local gang trying to force them into prostitution, but pedophiles who prey on them for the purpose of finding participants for their on-line pornography.

So I read all this at 6:00 a.m, yet another day started with another plea for money and resources for people who clearly need it. I've got to tell you, it made me a little weary. Recently I heard that many charities are suffering from a lack of support, partly because of the economy but also from "disaster fatigue". People are just overwhelmed by the need in this world.

I'm part of a big enough church that I hear something heartbreaking every day-another cancer, another arrest, another backslidden kid on drugs, another divorce, another injustice. You and I can't send money to them all, can't call them all with a word of encouragement, can't visit them all and certainly can't save them all. But we can pray. Oswald Chambers gives us some good counsel on praying in the face of great need.

". . . men always ought to pray and not lose heart —Luke 18:1

You cannot truly intercede through prayer if you do not believe in the reality of redemption. Instead, you will simply be turning intercession into useless sympathy for others, which will serve only to increase the contentment they have for remaining out of touch with God. True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance.

Intercession means to "fill up . . . [with] what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ" ( Colossians 1:24 ), and this is precisely why there are so few intercessors. People describe intercession by saying, "It is putting yourself in someone else’s place." That is not true! Intercession is putting yourself in God’s place; it is having His mind and His perspective.

As an intercessor, be careful not to seek too much information from God regarding the situation you are praying about, because you may be overwhelmed. If you know too much, more than God has ordained for you to know, you can’t pray; the circumstances of the people become so overpowering that you are no longer able to get to the underlying truth.

Our work is to be in such close contact with God that we may have His mind about everything, but we shirk that responsibility by substituting doing for interceding. And yet intercession is the only thing that has no drawbacks, because it keeps our relationship completely open with God.

What we must avoid in intercession is praying for someone to be simply "patched up." We must pray that person completely through into contact with the very life of God. Think of the number of people God has brought across our path, only to see us drop them! When we pray on the basis of redemption, God creates something He can create in no other way than through intercessory prayer.


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